You know, the old “two roads diverged in a wood” scenario.
I think everyone has, at some point in their life, faced a decision that will have an effect on the rest of their life. And if you haven’t yet, don’t worry: you will.
It’s generally fairly obvious that the decision is a major one: a move, a job, a relationship. Sometimes you don’t find out until later that the seemingly minor decision was actually the one which determined the course of your subsequent life, but usually it is helpfully signposted. Big Important Decision! You Can’t Afford To Screw This Up! No pressure…
For me, the decision came at the end of my last year at university – that’s the other thing about these important decisions, they’re usually impeccably timed for the most inconvenient possible moment.
Over the course of the year I had been seriously considering becoming a nun. Because what eccentric could resist a hat like this?
I jest, it wasn’t the Flying Nun headgear that attracted me.
To live in community, but in quietness, not noise; to have a regular routine, and the support of others in keeping to it; to not have to wonder about what to wear every morning; to live a life fully devoted to keeping the two great commands of Christ – love God and love others; these were all incentives.
I met the Caped Gooseberry.
Fortunately for all concerned, I didn’t loiter at the crossroads as long as Jane Christmas, who went to try life as a nun after her partner had proposed.
It fairly quickly became apparent to me that my calling did not lie in the monastic direction. Two roads diverged and I… I took the one less travelled by (there being a large number of monastic orders and only one Caped Gooseberry).
While there are still aspects of monastic life which appeal to me, I have no regrets. Particularly since most of the appealing bits can be enjoyed to some extent within the bonds of holy matrimony – although people will look at you oddly if you stroll around with habit and husband. I hear.
If we’d gone for a Japanese-style ceremony, I could even have had the starchy headgear…
What roads have diverged in your life – and what lay down the paths you didn’t take?